Sunday, April 16, 2017

India Reflections

I am always amazed  how quickly our time ministering overseas seems to go by.  It's as if Pat and I just get settled in and then it's time for us to pack up and come back home.

When I return from a trip, I like to take some time to unwind and readjust to being back before reflecting on what was accomplished.

As I start looking back on this trip,  I am amazed at what was accomplished.
  • The first two Indian Eye Vision Clinics in Siliguri and Nagrakata were very successful.
    A total of 135 people were seen, 105 pair of  glasses were given.
    One of the best results we've had for first time clinics.
    These numbers represent families and lives that were affected by God's love - the most exciting thing in the world.
  • Teams were trained, equipment and eyeglasses left for continued eye clinics.
  • Doors were opened for future eye clinics in other areas of North East India.
  • 15 new believers in Nagrakata were Baptized in the Holy Ghost.
  • 25  new believers in Nagrakata are being discipled in preparation for taking Water Baptism.
  • A man in Nagrakata had his hearing  restored, and a  woman in Siliguri received healing for her eyesight.

Pat and I want to thank everyone who gave glasses, finances and prayed.
Your help made this trip the success that it was.

What's on our calendar?  In October we will be heading back to Sri Lanka to hold eye clinics in new areas.

Blessings!  Gary

Indian Team at Work
Nagrakata Church

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Twenty-First Century Contrasts

Marketed by The Directorate of Tourism 
as "Incredible India" this is truly a vibrant and varied land. 

Second in population only to China with 1.3 billion people, India has one of the fastest growing global economies.

As education and technology increasingly connect India with the rest of the world, a growing middle class and techno-savvy generation is moving much of India forward with development, modernization and increased per capita income.  

It remains a land of stark contrasts:

Many people have cell phone  - service is both inexpensive and unreliable.

Women and children continue to haul water home from public spigots.

Newly affordable family owned cars clog narrow streets designed for rickshaws and carts. 

Clothes are washed in the river and laid out to dry on any elevated surface. 

Bright modern malls have risen in the middle of long-standing slum areas. 

India has captured our heart.  Each life is precious to the heart of God.  Our prayer is that the light of His love will continue to reach into every corner of this nation with His eternal hope.

Jai Mashi - Praise the Lord.  Pat


Friday, March 17, 2017

One Weekend in Nagrakata

Seventy nine kilometers east of our home base of Siliguri, West Bengal India is the town of Nagrakata.

An eye glass clinic was scheduled.  People were invited to come and tokens given out.
Throughout the day they came from varied socio-economic standing and religious beliefs.

Seventy-five people in all, mostly Hindus, Buddhist  and new Christian believers. Fifty-nine people were given glasses.  The church we work with in Nagrakata was recently started and is growing in attendance as local people hear about Jesus, and return to either accept Him, or to learn more.  They meet in the street level shop of a traditional 'shop-house' where grain was once distributed.

Fifteen of these new believers are being discipled to take water baptism.   This very public declaration of their faith is often the trigger for severe persecution from family and community.

The eye clinic was a strong outreach and sign of goodwill between the Christians and the community.

The weekend included a joy-filled Sunday church service where Gary taught four truths from the story of Jesus multiplying a little boy's lunch to feed five thousand. (John 6:1-32)

1. God knows what to do - and you don't.
2. Jesus will use anyone.
3. Whatever you have - thank God for it.
4. You can't out-give God

Monday was the Hindu Festival of colors called Holi.   We held a Holy Spirit meeting where many of the people received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

This is our last week - how quickly the time has gone.  We finish our time in India with a Friday evening Bible Study and Sunday morning service, before flying out to Bangkok for two days before coming home.

Gary and I are continually grateful for your love, prayers and support.

Jai Mashi - Praise the Lord!   Pat

Friday, March 10, 2017

Eating Good in India

Mission trips may be challenging in many ways. On this trip a lack of good food is not one of them.

Indian food is as varied as the cultures that comprise the nation.

In the Northern Indian state of West Bengal, the main cultures are Hindi, Nepali, Bengali and Tibetan Each has their own flavors and specialties.

All are delicious, plentiful, and hard to resist as we continue our journey.

Blessings, Pat and Gary

Foothills of the Himalayas

Definitions:  Momos      Pakora     Tandoori    Dahl Makhani    Garlic Naan

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Seeing and Believing

Eye vision clinics provide a unique opportunity to serve the needs of people on both a physical level and a spiritual level.

Our first eye vision clinic in India was held in the city of Siliguri, West Bengal.  Sixty people came to have their eyes checked.  Eye glasses were given to the 46 people who needed them.  A few had serious cataracts and sadly could not be helped with eye glasses.

Each person was prayed for, and many requested prayer for a list of serious illnesses.  All asked in faith believing. 

One of the most touching stories of the day was a young Bengali woman who had invited her mother and grandmother to the eye clinic. While they are Hindu worshippers, she was very happy that they agreed to come to a Christian church to have their eyes checked.  In the Bengali culture women are not considered worthy or valuable enough to spend money on, so they often go without education and basic medical care.   

It was a joy to welcome these women, along with several of their neighbors, and see them receive eye glasses for the first time in their lives.

We are expecting to hear many answers to prayer, and are excited for the next eye vision clinic.

The journey continues.  Pat and Gary

Monday, February 27, 2017

Wishing for Time Travel

Thirty hours travelling through four airports, 10 time zones and across the international date line brought us safely to Bangkok, Thailand.

Did I mention the change in climate?  From the cool desert dryness of Las Vegas, Nevada to the warm humid topics of Thailand. 

Our first day was spent sampling street food, sleeping off jet lag, and generally acclimating to our new surroundings.

More updates as the journey continues.  Pat

Bangkok Scenes
Clockwise: 1 Night Market,  2 & 3 & 4 Street Food;
5 Mango Sticky Rice; 6 Typical Traffic

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Packing and Preparing

Eye glasses are sorted, labelled and packaged. Suitcases are almost ready to zip shut.  Tickets are purchased, passports current, visas secured.

And yet I find the most important preparation is inside of  my heart. 
Each time  I hear the worship song "Build My Life" on the radio, at church it challenges my heart.  

What am I building my life on. What am I filling my heart with.

Open up my eyes in wonder
Show me who you are

Fill me with your heart and
Lead me in your love to those around me

The lyrics challenge my heart and renew my resolve to fully allow the immeasurable love of Jesus to fill my heart and lead me. To not be lead by my personal desires, or societies expectations.

As we prepare to journey to Thailand and India this week, we appreciate your love, your prayers, your support.  Our prayer for you is that regardless of where you find yourself in life - that your eyes would be open to the wonder of our awesome God, and this would be your prayer:

I will build my life upon your love
It is a firm foundation

I will put my trust in your alone
And I will not be shaken

Join us on the Journey - Pat